Mel Eves: Get more from maestros in Wolves' midfield

Former Wolves star Mel Eves has urged them to be ‘more confident and progressive’ and get the best out of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho.

Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho of Wolverhampton Wanderers. (AMA)
Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho of Wolverhampton Wanderers. (AMA)

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are set to get back going in the Premier League following the international break at Leeds on Monday.

So far, they have picked up six points from four games amid a system change from Nuno.

And Eves – who made 214 appearances and scored 53 goals for Wolves – hopes to see them grow in confidence and play to Neves and Moutinho’s strengths, as he said: “To be perfectly honest, I don’t think many apart from Rui Patricio have hit the heights yet.

“Apart from the first 10 minutes at Sheffield United, we’ve been a little bit on the back foot.

“Obviously the West Ham game was not good enough, but then the application against Fulham was a lot better.

“Still, we’ve got six points from four games amid a really strange atmosphere.

“For me, we just need to be a bit more confident and progressive on the ball. Sometimes I think they can be a lot more progressive.

“When you play 3-4-3 with Neves and Moutinho in the middle, they are world-class players. They are both top class and it’s a case of the whole team being a little braver.

“Those central midfield players are not ones who are going to get the ball and run with it, they are play-makers who want to pick people out.

“So, to get the best out of them, everybody needs to be making runs and making themselves available as Neves and Moutinho can put it on a sixpence from 50 yards.

“I think it’s about everybody gelling and the pieces coming together as Neves and Moutinho, the type of players they are, can’t perform if others aren’t being progressive and aggressive with their movement.”

The tweak in formation from Nuno has saw Pedro Neto dropping into midfield, while Daniel Podence has operated as a second striker.

New wing-backs – Nelson Semedo, Ki-Jana Hoever, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Fernando Marcal vying for the spots on either side – are also being integrated while Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota moved on to Tottenham and Liverpool respectively over the summer.

Once those new partnerships are fully formed, Eves feels Portuguese pair Neves and Moutinho – both yet to register an assist this season – will be back to their best.

Assessing how things have gone so far and the improvements to be made moving forward, Eves added: “I’ve been really impressed with Neto and think that he has a big future in the game if he keeps his head down.

“Podence made some great runs against Sheffield United, too, but it’s about making sure it’s well-oiled and making it sure it runs the way it can.

“It’s not quite there yet and I think that’s down to new players coming in, especially the wing-backs, and getting used to things.”

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